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Boat Maintenance Special:

By Capt. Bill Pike

How To Keep Your Watermaker Healthy

Water Water Everywhere

Almost anybody can tell you the two most common ways to keep your watermaker healthy, namely backflushing it if you plan to leave your boat for seven to ten days, and pickling it with a special solution (usually involving the chemical: sodium metabisulphite) if you plan to leave her for longer. But I’d say there’s something else you can do that’s way more fundamental and important—make sure your watermaker’s installed in an appropriate environment. I’ve seen the electrical connections and/or components on brand-new machines actually fail within a couple of months because they were mounted in compartments or areas that were subject to saltwater contamination. Yes, protecting connections with heat-shrink tubing is good, but making sure your watermaker is installed in a dry environment away from corrosive brine is better.

Make sure your watermaker is housed in an area that’s friendly to electrics. Too much moisture or exposure to salt water can short out a busbar and even start a fire.

Water damage